Halving your carbon footprint while also lowering your household bills sounds like a pipedream. However, households throughout Brisbane are proving that it can be done, such as the Woods who received a $7 energy bill in the middle of summer, while working to lower their emissions by 55%!

In Brisbane, we’re blessed with sunny weather all-year round. This means in the summer months it becomes harder to turn away from the comfort and convenience of air conditioning, a dip in the pool and many other luxuries we take for granted every day. Unfortunately, these actions often come at a cost to the climate, emitting carbon into our atmosphere. In fact, Brisbane households currently create more than five million tonnes of carbon emissions each year or around 11.5 tonnes per household on average.

Thankfully, there are many things Brisbane residents can do to lower their carbon footprint without having to sacrifice the standard of living we all currently enjoy!

Brisbane City Council is supporting residents to reduce their household carbon emissions and save on bills through the Brisbane Carbon Challenge. Delivered in partnership with Brisbane Sustainability Agency, the Brisbane Carbon Challenge is an online carbon calculator where Brisbane residents can find out their household carbon emissions from home energy, transport and waste and learn tips for how to lower their emissions and save on bills.

Meet the Wood household

Marina and Adam Wood are homeowners living in Lota and at the start of 2021, they took the Brisbane Carbon Challenge. The household recorded annual carbon emissions of 8.69 tonnes and want to reduce this by focussing mainly on emissions from home energy and waste.

The Woods household

The Woods have worked their way through a low-carbon ‘action plan’ using the tips and resources available online. In 2021, they have switched to a GreenPower energy plan, installed a solar system, upgraded to an energy-efficient air conditioning unit, upgraded all light bulbs to LEDs, removed their second fridge, installed low flow showerheads, changed actions at home to reduce food waste, started composting food and garden waste at home. They also used a home energy monitoring system to know when and where household energy was being used to help turn unnecessary lighting off as well as appliances that are not in use.

Marina and Adam keep their air-conditioning between 24 – 26 degrees in summer, which is the optimal temperature for energy efficiency.

By taking all these simple actions at home, the Woods will ideally reduce their household carbon emissions by an impressive 55% to just 2.6 tonnes! And not only this, but they were also rewarded with an astonishing $7 energy bill in December, thanks to their solar system and change in energy consumption at home. In fact, this year the Woods built a pool in time for summer, took comfort from the December heat and still managed to pay less than two cups of coffee for energy!

If you want to lower your carbon footprint and save on bills, like the Woods, take the Brisbane Carbon Challenge today at

The author

Sam Mullen

Sam is a sustainability specialist at Brisbane Sustainability Agency and enjoys helping residents and community groups understand and reduce their climate impact while also promoting a circular economy.

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